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Posts Tagged ‘beef stew’

stew

 

This winter has been “on/off” since early december. It goes from an “arctic blaze” to just a few degrees above freezing and then back down into the big frozen pit again. We have had a few snow storms and in American terms “blizzards”. But for a Swede, you can only call it a blizzard and a really bad storm when the snow comes at you from down and up and shakes you around as if you were stuck in tumbler. Yes, it has snowed but nothing to write home about. We survived.

Since we unfortunately miscalculated our supply of “snow melt” last year (we ran out of it and couldn’t find any to buy anywhere). We didn’t want to take any risks of that happening again this year. We have a large bucket of snow melt sitting at the bottom of the stairs in our basement right now. A pain to jump over any time you have to go down into the basement but it surely is worth the trouble. We will have leftover snowmelt for next year.

I think we are out removing snow every week. It really feels like an extremely snow filled winter this year. When I first moved to America there was never any snow in the winter. What has happened? Did “Global warming” cousin, “arctic cold winters” move in?

Another way to make the snow melt, well perhaps not make the snow melt but at least feel warm, is to eat winter hardy food. Stews are easy and really fulfilling. A little less rustic stew is to start with ground meat instead of chunks of meat. It can be stewing down in different liquids such as beer, wines or broths.

To mix it up a little, this stew has ingredients from the “antipasto” (or antipasti as some call it) counter at the grocery store. I find it fast and it mixes it up a little from my regular kinds of stews.

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*I love the marinated garlic cloves, marinated whole shallots, marinated olives all kinds, marinated artichoke hearts. It is so hearty to chop this up and add to any kind of dish. Anything from stews to omelets.

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Thanks to my dear friends at home, I get dried chanterelle mushrooms from home. They are absolutely fantastic to add to stews. You just put them in some cold water (don’t use hot water) and let them re-hydrate for a few minutes. Squeeze out the water and add them to the stew.

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Winter Stew:

Serves 6.

1 lb. of ground meat (I used ground beef).

1 finely chopped medium-sized onion.

1 cup chopped mushrooms. Either fresh or dried re-hydrated.

1 cup mixed antipasto items. You decide what. I used marinated garlic cloves, olives, onions and artichoke hearts.

1 cup chopped tomatoes. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, 1 can of crushed tomatoes works well.

2 tbsp. tomato paste (optional).

1 bottle of good a little darker beer or 1 cup wine. Red or white either works or  2 cups of stock. I always use low sodium chicken stock.

Splash of hot sauce (optional).

2 tbsp. concentrated stock (optional. I used my favorite Swedish “secret weapon”).

Salt pepper to taste.

1-3 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley for decoration.

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Directions;

Heat up a cast iron pot or a heavy-duty pot on a medium hot heat. In a splash of oil, fry the onion and the ground meat. When the onion is translucent and the meat has been browned slightly, add all the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let cook down for about 5-10 minutes. Add the liquids and the antipasto. Let simmer on a low heat for about 35-40 minutes or until all is well stewed down and nice and soft. Taste and make sure the balance of spices is correct and to you liking.

Serve with some home-made mashed potatoes.

sprinkle over some finely chopped parsley for decoration.

Enjoy and stay warm!

 

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When it is getting dark & cold, I have a habit of doing beef stews and things that needs to cook for a long time. There are so many versions of a beef stew. Of course there is the traditional French way of making it but why do we always judge food after the French way of cooking??? I grew up on it and I am sure people all over the world have their own versions. It doesn’t even have to be beef, could be lamb, pork or something else.

So, here is mine. I do slight variations of it but the basic theme is the same. And I don’t use any strict recipes. It is all about feelings and what you have at home.

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My Classic Beef stew.

1 1/2 – 2 lb’s of Beef. Cut up into 1″ cubes. (This is perfect for a cheaper cut of meat.)

I onion. Sliced.

1 carrot, cut in “coin size” pieces or 1/2 c. of baby carrots.

1/2 bottle of good red wine.

Beef broth.

1 Bouquet garni (rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, parsley. Note- you can add other herbs such as basil, anything goes. All herbs should be tied up in a piece of cheese cloth.) If you rather use any herb or spice of your choice that is also fine. I like to see the boiled down spices in my food so it is not needed to have the herbs tied up and taken out from the stew at the end. 

1/2 hot pepper (optional).

Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions;

I like to cook my beef stew in a dutch oven ( large cast iron pot). 

Take the meat and brown it on a semi high heat in a frying pan. Don’t put all in at one time since that would force the juices to come out from the meat and start boiling instead of browning. So, fry a little at a time. When the last part is done pour over the carrots and onions and add in all the fried meat. Let the vegetables fry down for a few minutes. Add the herbs and the pepper. Add the red wine and beef stock. Make sure it just about covers the meat and vegetables. 

Let all come to a boil and then take it down do a very low simmer (slow cooking). Let it boil for 2-3 hours. Perhaps even longer, depending on what cut of meat you have used and how big you cut the meat. I would say, that I usually plan on cooking it for about 3-4 hours. 

Check ever so often to make sure you don’t cook it so long, that the meat falls apart. 

If the liquid is too thin you can thicken it with either some arrow-root, potato flour whisked together with cold water or use any other thickener. Another way is to boil a finely sliced potato together with the stew. The starch in the potato will thicken the stew.

Serve the beef stew with some home-made mashed potatoes and some salad or lettuce. 

Enjoy!!

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